Monday, November 7, 2011


Sebuah tradisi kenabian
Menduga hati seorang ayah
Menguji ketaatan seorang anak
Kemuncak abdi hamba pada Ilahnya
Memaknakan sebuah hubungan Ilahi-insani

Memaknusiakan manusia
Mengikis dengki hati
Membaja hubungan insani
Cerminan putih hati manusiawi

Tanda pemberi dimuliakan
Indikasi yang marhain tidak dikesampingkan
Penunjuk kebersamaan diaulakan

Satu suruhan
Menguji insan
Menuntut keikhlasan
Bukan sekadar amalan picisan
Tapi usaha menuju kekamilan

Rizal Abu Bakar
Victoria Australia
2 Zulhijjah 1432

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The most humane slaughter

The great festival of Eid-ul Adha is celebrated by the Muslims all over the world on the tenth of Dhul-Hijja every year through sacrifices and prayers in memory of the glorious sacrifice of the prophets Ibrahim Khalilullah and Ismail Zabihullah (peace be upon them).

Millions of cattle are slaughtered on this auspicious day with a view to receiving the Divine Mercy through benevolence, Samaritanism, patience and constancy. This noble effort is, however, condemned by many ignorant non-Muslims, shrouded by total ignorance about the significance and sublime essence of Qurbani, as an act of wanton cruelty. What is more, the Islamic practice of slaughter or sacrifice by slitting the throat with a sharp knife has come under attack by some animal rights activists as being an inhuman form of cruelty to animals.

It is claimed that the slaughtering of an animal with a knife is the most painful and tortuous method of killing. Nothing can be farther from the truth. It has been established beyond any shadow of doubt, through impartial scientific experiments conducted in non-Muslim countries, that the Islamic method of slaughtering with a knife is the least painful and thus the most humane method of killing an animal.

An animal is being stunned in a slaughterhouse in Brazil. In most of the Western countries, it is required by law to stun the animals with a shot in the head before the slaughter. It is done with a view to rendering the animal unconscious and thereby preventing it from reviving before it is killed so as not to slow down the movement of the processing line. It is also used from a humanitarian point of view. It is presumed that this stunning prevents the animal from feeling pain before it dies. But research conducted in a non-Muslim country like Germany has come out with very surprising findings which nail to the counter the allegations against the Islamic method of slaughtering with a knife.

The intensive research conducted at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover University in Germany was headed by Professor Wilhelm Schulze. He was assisted by Dr. Hazim. The study was named: "Attempts to objectify pain and consciousness in conventional (captive bolt pistol stunning) and ritual (Islamic method of cutting with knife) methods of slaughtering sheep and calves."

The results were most unexpected to the non-Muslim Westerners. The claim that the CBPS (Capital Bolt Pistol Stunning) method was least painful and most humane dashed to the ground. The findings testified to the fact that the slaughter of an animal with a sharp knife is the least painful and most humane of all methods of killing.

In the study several electrodes were surgically implanted at various points of the skulls of all animals under experiment, touching the surface of the brain. The animals were allowed to recover for several weeks.

Some animals were then slaughtered, according to the Islamic method, by making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck cutting the jugular vein and the carotid arteries as well as the trachea and esophagus. Other animals were stunned with the aid of a 'Captive Bolt Pistol' (CBP).

During the experiment an electroencephalograph (EEG) and an electrocardiogram (ECG) recorded the condition of the brains and the hearts of all the animals during the course of slaughter and stunning.

The results were as follows:

Slaughtering with a knife (The Islamic Method)

1. The first 3 seconds from the time of the slaughter (in the Islamic Method) as recorded on the EEG did not show any change from the graph before slaughter, thus indicating that the animal did not feel any recognisable pain during or after the incision.

2. During the following 3 second, the EEG recorded a condition of deep sleep-unconsciousness. This is due to the large quantity of blood gushing out of the body. The sudden and profuse bleeding from the incision on the neck causes a shock resulting in a state of unconsciousness due to severe shortage of blood supply to the vital centers located in the brain.

3. After the above-mentioned 6 seconds, the EEG recorded zero level, showing no feeling of pain at all.

4. As the brain message (EEG) dropped to zero level, the heart was still pounding and the body convulsing vigorously (a reflex action of the spinal cord) driving out a maximum amount of blood from the body, thus resulting in hygienic meat for the consumers.

Captive Bolt Pistol (CBP) Stunning Method

1. The animals were apparently unconscious soon after stunning.

2. But EEG showed severe pain immediately after stunning.

3. The hearts of animals stunned by CBP stopped beating earlier as compared to those of the animals slaughtered according to the Islamic method, resulting in the retention of more blood in the meat. This in turn is unhygienic for the consumer.

CBP Method and mad cow disease (MCD)

The Western method of stunning animals with a shot in the head is not only severely painful, as shown by the above experiment, but it is also alarmingly unhygienic. There is rising concern (based on the findings of some researches) that the method may be a factor in the spread of Mad Cow disease (MCD) from cattle to human beings.

Two independent researches carried out recently at the Texas A & M University and by Canada's Food Inspection Agency discovered that a method called Pneumatic Stunning (in which a metal bolt is fired into the cow's brain and followed by a pulverising burst of 150 pounds of air pressure) delivered a force so explosive that it scattered brain tissue throughout the animal's body. The findings are really disturbing since brain tissue and spinal cord are the most infectious parts of an animal with Mad Cow Disease which causes Swiss cheese like holes in the brain of the infected animal. It is all the more alarming because 30 to 40 per cent of the American cattle are stunned by pneumatic guns before the slaughter.

As for the most modern method of electric stunning being practiced in many developed countries, the Meat Inspection Branch of the United States Department of Agriculture came to the following conclusion in 1953: "The use of electric stunning methods by plants which operate under federal meat inspection has not been permitted as a result of experiments which were conducted several years ago at the University of Chicago. These experiments indicated that electric stunning in hogs resulted in certain changes in the tissues which could not be differentiated by gross examination from similar changes produced by disease."

In 1955 the Danish Ministry of Justice issued a circular, which said, "Stunning with electricity causes extravasations in meat, sanguinary intestines and fracture in the spinal column, pelvis and the shoulder blades through shock. The blood in the meat makes it more susceptible to putrefaction and has a detrimental effect upon its taste. The properties of the meat which would co-operate with the salt in extracting the blood traces are interfered within the animal undergoing shock convulsions prior to slaughter."

In 1954 British regulations were amended and electric stunning was prohibited, "the reason being that stunning seriously affected the quality of British bacon."

It was also observed: "Electric stunning hastens the onset of putrefaction in meat. The explanation of the phenomenon lies in the high lactic acid level following electric shocks prior to bleeding. High lactic acid alters the bacterial resistance of meat."

If the head of the animal is severed by one sharp blow through guillotining or Bali at the sacrificial post, there will be sudden contraction of voluntary muscles, which will expel important nutrient fluids and, as in electric shock, some lactic acid will also form. What is more, since the heart will stop suddenly, there will not be sufficient bleeding which is needed for better and healthier meat.

It is evident from the above-mentioned studies that the Islamic slaughter of animals is a blessing to both the animal and the person who consumes it. It may, however, be mentioned in this connection that the Islamic method insists on several measures to make the slaughter lawful.

This is done to ensure maximum benefit to both the animal and the consumer.

The holy Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) emphatic declaration in this regard should be mentioned first. The holy Prophet (pbuh) said: "Allah calls for mercy in everything, so be merciful when you kill and when you slaughter: sharpen your blade to relieve its pain."

According to a tradition transmitted by Muslim, the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) ordered a horned ram with black legs, a black belly and black round the eyes, and it was brought to him to be sacrificed. He told Bibi Ayesha Siddiqua (RA) to get the knife, and then told her to sharpen it with a stone. When she had done so he took it, then taking the ram he placed it on the ground and cut its throat.

The Islamic method indeed demands that the knife to be used for slaughtering animals must be sharp and used swiftly. The swift cut of vessels of the neck disconnects the flow of blood to the nerves in the brain responsible for pain. Thus the slaughtered animal feels no pain.

It may be mentioned in this connection that the movements and withering of the different limbs of the animal after the incision is made are not due to pain, but due to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles deficient in blood. The convulsions are due to the contraction of the muscles in response to the lack of oxygen in the brain cells.

The muscles, by these contractions, squeeze out blood from the blood vessels in the tissues to pour it into the central circulation system to be sent to the brain, but this is lost on the way (due to cutting of big vessels in the neck) and the brain cells consequently keep on sending messages to the muscles to wring out blood, until the animal dies.

Convulsions thus occur when the animal becomes unconscious. And because the slaughtered animal becomes unconscious for massive hemorrhage, it does not feel pain while bleeding.

The holy Prophet's (pbuh) kindness to the animals extended to such an extent that he also instructed the Muslims neither to sharpen the blade of the knife in front of the animals nor to slaughter an animal in front of others of its own kind. It is unfortunate that very few Muslims today abide by this noble and unparalleled instruction of the last and greatest Prophet.

While offering Qurbani on Eid-ul-Azha most of the Muslims unfortunately, ignore the above-mentioned humane instruction of the Apostle of God (phub) and recklessly slaughter camels and cows and lambs right in front of other animals. We not only fight shy of the holy Prophet's unique instruction but also very easily forget that the animals feel and suffer in the same way as the humans do.

Lastly, the Islamic method also insists that the cut should involve the windpipe (trachea), gullet (esophagus), and the two jugular veins without cutting the spinal cord. This method results in rapid gush of blood draining most of it from the animal's body. If the spinal cord is cut, the nerve fibres to the heart might be damaged leading to cardiac arrest, thus resulting in stagnation of blood in the blood vessels. The blood must be drained completely before the head is removed from the body. As most of the blood, which acts as medium of microorganisms, is removed the meat becomes purified and also remains fresh for a longer period as compared to the meat obtained through other methods of slaughtering like gullotining or decapitation, CBPS and electric stunning.

The Islamic method of slaughter is, therefore, not only the most humane and least painful but also the most hygienic of all the methods of killing animals.

By: Syed Ashraf Ali

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A scientific perspective of Ramadan fasting

A scientific perspective of Ramadan fasting
Dr Muhammad Islamullah Khan

The blessed month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. The word Ramadan means: "great heat", as this occurred in the pre-Islamic solar calendar.

Fasting in this month is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. We read in the Quran: "The month of Ramadan, where the Quran was sent down for the guidance of the people. And as clear signs of the Guidance and the Salvation. So let those of you, who are present at the month, fast in it; and if any of you is sick, or on a journey, then fast on a number of other days. Allah desires ease for you, and desires not hardship for you. So that you fulfil the number, and Praise Allah that He has guided you, and that you may be thankful." (2:185).

Researches on Fasting

People fast for health reasons. Scientists have studied the effects of fasting on the body and found that the intake of food increases the body's metabolism. After fasting, the metabolism can become as much as 22 per cent lower than the normal rate.

But research also has shown that after long periods of fasting, the body tends to adjust itself by lowering the rate of metabolism itself. After fasting, a person should gradually resume eating.

Some studies performed on fasting Muslims, it was observed that there was a slight loss of weight. Their blood glucose levels increased significantly. Other parameters such as blood levels of cortical, testosterone, Na, K, urea, total cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein) LDL (low density lipoprotein) TG (triglycerides) and serum osmolality did not show notable variations.

Another study which was performed shows that sporadic restraint from food and drink for about 17 hours a day for 30 days does not alter the male reproductive hormones, HPTA (hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis) or peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormones. Any changes noticed returned to normal four weeks after fasting.

A study on increased fat oxidation during Ramadan Fasting in healthy women: an adaptive mechanism for body-weight maintenance was performed and was published. In this study possible effects of Ramadan Fasting on anthropometric and metabolic variables were investigated in healthy Tunisian Muslim women.

Total daily energy intake remained unchanged whereas the qualitative components of nutrients were markedly affected. Neither body weight nor body composition were influenced by Ramadan fasting.

Results also indicate the concomitant decrease of plasma insulin concentrations with respiratory and energy expenditure during Ramadan. Fat oxidation was increased and carbohydrate oxidation was decreased during the light span of the nycthemeron.

In non-Muslim countries such as the United States the physicians particularly the Family Physicians and Internists should be aware of changes of glucose and bilirubin during the month of Ramadan.

Rheumatic disease

Fasting may enhance mucous derived B lymphocyte cell responsiveness while having no effect on B cell responsiveness in both rheumatoid arthritis patients and healthy volunteers.

After a three-day, water-only fast. 7 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 17 healthy volunteers received influenza virus vaccine either orally or by injection. One week later blood samples were analysed for B lymphocyte response. B lymphocyte response was enhanced in the group receiving the vaccine orally in both arthritis patients and volunteers. The response to injected vaccine was unchanged in both groups.

Longevity studies on laboratory animals have shown that restriction of caloric intake increases longevity, slows the rate of functional decline, and reduces incidence of age-related disease in a variety of species. The mechanism of action of caloric restriction remains unknown. However, data suggest that cellular functions are altered in such a way that destructive by-products of metabolism are reduced, and defence or repair systems are enhanced by this nutritional manipulation.

Animal and human studies suggest potential benefits of dietary modification, exercise, antioxidants, hormones, and deprenyl.

Lactating mothers

The effects of Ramadan fasting and increased blood insulin and glucose on milk volume and composition were studied with glucose clamp methodology in exclusively and partially breast-feeding women (producing no more than 200 ml milk per day).

There was no effect on milk volume, milk glucose concentration, total fat content or lactose secretion rate. It is concluded that human milk production is isolated from the homeostatic mechanisms that regulate glucose metabolism in the rest of the body, in part because the lactose synthesise system has a Km for glucose lower than the concentration available in the Geology compartment.

Short-term fasting in normal women

In a study which investigated the effects of a short-term fast (72 hours) on female reproductive hormone secretion and menstrual function, it was concluded that in spite of profound metabolic changes, a 72-hour fast during the follicular phase does not affect the menstrual cycle of normal cycling women.

Fasting and healing

Studies are being conducted to treat serious illnesses like osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis or asthma utilising fasting for a short duration of a few days to medically supervised water (only fasts of 30 days) to help the body heal itself.

It has been known that both children and animals refuse to eat when sick as a natural response. The severely sick have no appetite, but they take the food only at the urging of the family members.

The severely sick feel no hunger because food in severe sickness intervenes with natural response. The body is always trying to heal itself. When the patient is resting and consuming water only, the body heals itself and fasting acts as a facilitating process.

One can get rid of coffee, cigarettes salty or sugary foods, which are addictive, through fasting, as fasting can help clear the taste buds and healthful foods start to taste better again. However insulin-dependent diabetics should not fast because of ketosis in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, who cannot break down the ketoses and use them as fuel. Healthy people use the ketoses (by products of the fat metabolism) to maintain energy.

To conserve the glycogen stores, glucose becomes restricted to the central nervous system, mainly the brain. Instead of taking the glucose from the brain, the body begins breaking down the fatty acids in adipose (fatty) tissue). People with non-insulin-dependent diabetes (the majority of people who have diabetes can improve their health through fasting).

Fasting helps heal cardiovascular disease, arthritis, asthma,
non-insulin-dependent diabetes, ulcers, and digestive disorders, lupus, skin problems (including cysts, tumours and kidney stones).
Even quitting smoking and obesity respond favourably to fasting. Fasting during the month of Ramadan does not cause any adverse medical effects, on the other hand may have some beneficial effects on weight and the lipid metabolism.

* The writer is professor and head of the Chemistry Department, Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 'Sheikh Google " Phenomenon

Googling The Sheikh

The term ‘Sheikh Google’ generally refers to an amateurish approach of studying Islam, more specifically to the study of Islamic Law (fiqh) and theology (‘aqīda). Yet of course, this does not imply a wholesale negative judgment on studying Islam online, but instead highlights a pitfall which some may fall into whilst reading on Islamic law or theology by themselves: equating basic literacy with scholarship. In other words, to simply ‘Google’ a topic (hence using it as one’s Sheikh) one may then think of oneself as an expert, or at least act like one.

One aspect that has plagued so many of the websites online providing knowledge on Islam is polemics; even when article(s) are written by a single author, there are straw-man attacks on other valid Islamic perspectives. For someone who wants a balanced and nuanced understanding, such sites are best avoided, or they can be used as a spring-board to generate questions, which can then be presented and discussed with a teacher. This is because when embarking on learning something new, it is dangerous to let someone’s deep held views have an unrestrained influence on your understanding, without you engaging the material critically.

The Exclusivist Approach

Another aspect of polemical material is the fact that usually one side is trying to ‘win’ the argument by trying their best to discredit the views of others. It is thus an exclusivist approach. This exclusivist approach ultimately leads to narrow-mindedness and an inability to appreciate or even listen to the views of others. This is further compounded by the fact that arguments are sometimes presented on the basis of “piety,” thus one view is presented as “more pious” than the other. Not fully understanding what could be meant by this, one not only becomes intolerant of those that differ with him/her, but also holds themselves more pious than the others. All this helps to create a very inflated ego, which gives the false guarantee of “you are on the truth” and ultimately becomes another manifestation of “Sheikh Google.” In this regard imām al-Dhahabī (d. 748 AH) says knowledge is: “Not the profusion of narration, but a light which God casts into the heart. Its condition is followership and the flight away from egotism and innovation.”1

This should serve as a helpful yardstick of differentiating when one is honestly seeking knowledge or just accumulating information: when it starts to feed our egos instead of helping us overcome it. When this happens, we should sound the spiritual alarm.

Hence, it is this very involved approach, where ideas that are swallowed wholesale can be damaging to one’s spiritual and intellectual development. Here, Edmund Husserl’s notion of epoché may be useful, which means ‘bracketing out’ one’s own views and subjectivities to the best of one’s abilities in order to appreciate ‘the object’2 or phenomenon as it is, which is the main purpose of phenomenology. This seems to echo what our Prophet ﷺ supplicated for by saying “Oh God, show the truth as the truth and grant us the ability to follow it, and show falsehood as falsehood and grant us the ability to refrain from it.”

True and correct perceptions are thus a gift from God. Yet gifts are usually bestowed on those that deserve it, and so it behooves a student seeking knowledge to keep this in mind particularly when studying Islam, especially controversial issues related to fiqh and ‘aqīda. Though this may be difficult, it can be made even more difficult by the group mentality that exists on some online forums. This can easily lead to issues of fiqh and ‘aqīda becoming more than issues of knowledge, but becoming polarities that define us. We fail to see that by becoming emotionally attached to certain positions, we bring detriment to our learning. At that almost irretrievable stage, we engage in mindless polemics to defend those positions, which destroys nearly all the blessings that knowledge brings.

Engaging The Text

Avoiding websites that offer partial information is perhaps easier said than done. Sometimes we may need an immediate answer to a pressing question, or can sometimes be shy to ask the local imam etc. In such scenarios the usefulness of being critical cannot be over emphasized. What do we mean by being critical? One thing for sure: it certainly does not mean being rude and difficult; rather, it simply means asking questions to clarify what is being said or to inquire for further information. However, this can be difficult to achieve online. This is because the process of reading involves reading what the author has to say, and then processing the information, and ultimately making a judgment on whether to accept or reject the information. Usually, one cannot engage in critical dialogue with the online author, and ask questions to seek clarification, all of which help to refine our understandings. And even if we do have this opportunity, it is usually limited in the form of comments. This fact should humble us if we get overzealous about an issue, and seek to engage in polemics or act as if we ‘know it all.’

Imām Abū Ḥanīfa (d. 150 AH) used to sit with several of his students, engage in long discussions over points of fiqh, and only after listening to all of what his students had to say, he used to state his opinion. Thus the understanding of his pupils was in a sense validated by their teacher. Although that is not to suggest he dictated his opinion to them, as this is proven by the fact that his two most famous students Abū Yūsuf (d.189 AH) and Muhammad (d.189 AH) frequently differed with him. Nonetheless it at least made sure they did not misunderstand him. It is this vital aspect that can be missing when we read online. What we take from a text might not be what was intended by the author, and although authorial intent has been dismissed by some modern literary theorists, as far as I am aware, it still has its importance when studying Islam.

When Facing Contradictions

The above also helps to highlight another challenge in learning from what ‘Sheikh Google’ and similar websites may present. One frequently comes across conflicting information and doesn’t know which to accept, so while one website says “xyz is permissible,” another not only says it is prohibited but is from the major sins! Without recourse to a teacher for further clarification, one has to inevitably decide independently on which opinion to give preference. This can be loosely identified as “tarjīḥ.” Tarjīḥ usually refers to the scientific process of a jurist giving preference to one view over another, which can be a complex process, and hence usually it is the activity of scholars. For example, the Mālikī practice of accepting the (historical) practice of the people of Medina as authoritative was not accepted by the other schools of fiqh. However, Sheikh Ibn Taymiyya (d.728 AH), though a Hanbalī, wrote a whole treatise supporting this doctrine. He thus engaged in a scholarly tarjīḥ. More importantly this usually enables a scholar to then offer scholarly criticism on why an opinion is weak in his view, as he bases his critique on an objective criteria, not his emotions.

In a similar manner, every Muslim engages in tarjīḥ when faced with conflicting opinions, although this is based on different criteria than the scholar – which is usually based on the argument’s persuasiveness, or which scholar one holds to be more knowledgeable and pious, or whether or not one goes for the difficult opinion or easier opinion, etc. This latter type of tarjīḥ is primarily geared to facilitate practice rather than be an intellectual scholarly engagement. Hence it does not befit someone who, after having read some answers to specific questions (fatāwā. [sing. Fatwa]) to then go on about how every other opinion is weak or misguided, simply based on the fatwa they read. For then, one acts as a scholar, as if to suggest one has read books upon books on the matter, when in fact, one has only read a few fatāwā. This does not mean belittling fatāwā issued by qualified scholars online but rather acknowledging the purpose of such sites, which is primarily to inform and facilitate practice, not produce scholars.

Online Fatāwā

It is not difficult to recognize the fact that the Internet has facilitated access to the knowledge of many great scholars, without which many people would have been deprived of such knowledge. And for this we should be grateful. This has obviously seen the rise of sites offering fatāwā. Again, whilst it is undoubtedly useful to seek answers to questions one may have, it is important to remember that whilst specific answers can be helpful for immediate practice, it should not be used as the main source or the only source of one’s education at the cost of a holistic approach. Ad-hoc answers can form scattered knowledge, which without proper guidance, can lead to confusion and or an imbalance in one‘s attitude.

Being critical also involves making sure a fatwa does actually apply to one’s situation. Indeed this can be a difficult task at times, and indeed as part of the training of a Mufti, certain institutions offer specific training on how to apply fatāwā to different contexts. If in doubt, it is best to seek clarification before acting upon the fatwa. It is also important to check the credentials of the person issuing the fatwa, especially if they follow an exclusivist approach e.g. ‘every other opinion is weak or wrong.’ If however someone is merely narrating the opinions of other scholars, than they need not be Muftis themselves.

In terms of the actual topics of fatāwā, edicts can be found given on everything under the sun. Though this can be seen as something positive, it also is worrying due to the possible implications of misapplying a fatwa. Therefore, a good criterion to follow is to discuss beforehand with a Mufti the issues related to the rights of others such as in marriage and divorce, as well as inheritance. This also includes contract law. Such issues have immense social implications, and it is best to tread carefully. Another issue that really should not be our concern, yet it does come up, is the issue of takfīr, or calling others disbelievers. Any website that deems a Muslim known for their knowledge as a heretic or disbeliever, should be flagged and avoided, and if one is left in doubt, then it is again best to discuss it with a scholar, and not the nearest Muslim online.

Scanning Your Teachers

While Imām al-Shāfi’ī (d. 204 A.H) was sitting in a mosque, a man came to him and asked him to provide the proof for the legal doctrine of Ijmā’ (consensus). If he was unable do this, then the man suggested the imām refrain from issuing fatāwā. The humble person that he was, the imām sought respite. When after a few days later the imām provided the proof, the man asked if the imām would teach him. He then became one of the imām’s leading students, whom we know as al-Muzānī (d. 264 A.H.).

The importance of a real life teacher who is balanced and firmly grounded in knowledge is indispensable when it comes to learning. This is because when we learn from real people, we learn knowledge as well as learn manners (ādāb). The right teacher may rebuke us if we raise our voices and discipline us if we act haughty and arrogant, which helps refine our character and ultimately become a better person, which is perhaps one of the most important goals of learning. And it is the absence of such a teacher when it comes to online learning, or when the Internet becomes our only source of learning, when we may become self-deluded into qualifying ourselves with attributes not befitting a student, ranging from adopting the attitude of a judge instead of a seeker, to always looking for evidences to back up our opinions and rejecting all others. This is reflected in the saying “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Discussing the origins of this saying, Gary Martin identifies a 17th century writer who notes: ”Twas well observed by my Lord Bacon, That a little knowledge is apt to puff up, and make men giddy, but a greater share of it will set them right, and bring them to low and humble thoughts of themselves.”3

Yet learning ‘a greater share of it’ requires finding a teacher that not only is able to impart such knowledge, but one who also embodies the ethics of differing (ikhtilāf), and who is balanced. Al-Muzānī knew this very well, thus he made sure al-Shāfi’ī was someone worth studying under. However, in the absence of such a teacher, it seems fair to concede to the fact that the harms that can result from a sectarian-minded teacher can far outweigh the shortfalls of learning from balanced, well-researched websites online. In such instances, we all acknowledge the usefulness of ‘Sheikh Google’ when used correctly, whilst recognizing that ‘Sheikh Google’ should never replace the real balanced Shuyūkh.

1. Shams al-Din al-Dhahabī. Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā. 25 Vols. (Cairo: Mu’assasa al-Risāla, 1985). Vol. 3 Pg. 323. Translation adopted from Zaytuna College. ↩
2. I use the term ‘object’ with hesitation, since it also seems plausible that what is referred to as the object may indeed also be the subject in a sense, and here I’m referring to the Gadamer’s notion of ‘Play’. ↩
3. A. B. The mystery of phanaticism (1968). Quoted in: ↩

by Muhammad Haq

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Multiple Sex Partners Make a Woman's Immune System Crash; Eating Pork Weakens One's Ability to Think

Multiple Sex Partners Make a Woman's Immune System Crash; Eating Pork Weakens One's Ability to Think

Multiple Sex Partners Make a Woman's Immune System Crash; Eating Pork Weakens One's Ability to Think

Following are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim, a self-proclaimed professor of toxicology at California University, which aired on Al-Rahman/Al-Rawdha, on December 2, 2010: 

Interviewer: As you know, the West wants to shift the woman away from her purity, her chastity, and the holiness that Islam bestows upon her, to Western life, to lesbianism, to "How come women can't have multiple husbands?", to "Why can't a woman enjoy sexual liberty before she get married?", to "Why can't there be a focus on women, like in the West – so that women can be with women, without needing men, and men can be with men, without needing women?" These are very dangerous issues. Does science have anything to say about them? 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: Regarding the question of the woman, even American society admits that women in America have lesser rights. Let me give you a clear example: When a woman gets married, she adopts her husband's surname, and gives up her maiden name. If she marries so-and-so, she becomes Mrs. So-And-So. She is attributed to him. Before the scientific revolution, and before there were machines, the woman would be a slave to her husband. She had no rights whatsoever. This was less than 250 years ago. 

The situation developed when women were needed to help the men in modern life. Consequently, women progressed in many aspects, but not with regard to the need to give up their maiden names. 

Secondly, women in America are exploited as merchandise. Women are viewed as merchandise. If a woman is pretty, she has a certain price and status in society. Even at university, the professor will give a beautiful girl better grades than a plain one. In ads, a girl with a nicer body will fetch a higher price. 


When I was a student at university, in 1975-1977, they conducted a survey which showed that the female American student, who spends, an average, four years at university, has sexual intercourse with 200-300 guys during these four years. 

When a woman has sex with more than one man, it causes her a medical problem, because it weakens her immune system. 

Interviewer: How exactly? 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: When a woman has sex with more than one man... When she has sex with the first man, her body tries to determine the identity of the man's sperm. 

Interviewer: Before the show, you explained the process of identification to me. 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: Yes, there is a process of identification, and the sperm is registered in her body. It is like when a person enters somebody's home, he is identified, and something like an identity card is prepared... This man now has a special place. This process is conducted by the immune system. It is like when a man works for a certain company, the company makes a great effort to get to know who the person is, and to place him in the right post. After a while, the woman's body easily identifies that man's sperm, which has become part of the woman. Along comes another man and has sex with her. Now the immune system must go over the entire process again. 

Interviewer: The immune system undergoes much effort in the identification of the new guy. 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: It is even more difficult when there are two men at the same time. These girls do that. They have one, two, or three lovers, plus a boyfriend. He may not even be a close friend, but she still has sex with him. This wears out the immune system. 

Interviewer: From having to conduct too many identification processes... 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: It is busy with identification all the time as a result of all these sexual encounters. When the woman reaches her thirties or forties, after 15 years of [sex], she begins to develop breast cancer and uterine cancer, which are very common in America. 

Interviewer: What is the reason for this? 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: The sexual contacts cause the woman's immune system to crash or to weaken. 


Someone who eats pork can work hard, but cannot think. His thinking is impaired, because his stomach invests a great effort in breaking up such complex molecules. 


It was discovered that pork eating weakens a person's ability to think, as well as his ability to take pride in himself. It abolishes his zeal. 

Interviewer: Is that a fact? 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: It's true. 

Interviewer: A pork eater has no patriotism?

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: This has been scientifically established. It lowers the body's level of serotonin, which generates activity and increases one's pride, and maybe even enhances one's happiness. When this hormone is secreted in the body, the person becomes happy, but pork reduces the level of serotonin. A pork-eater can put his muscles to work, but not his brain. 


Several doctors have achieved excellent results in treating impotence by having their patients grow their beards long. 

Interviewer: Allah be praised! 

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: Beard-growing encourages the production of testosterone. When people who suffer from impotence and cannot get an erection grow beards, the level of [testosterone] rises... They measured it in micrograms, and found that the testosterone level rises among men who grow beards. 

Interviewer: Subhanallah Allah be praised!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Biological clock

Genes and health
The importance of solving the human genome and the genomes of other species is that those billions of letters of DNA are deposited into databases and become available to scientists everywhere to conduct post-genomic research. Such research includes annotating the human genome—matching the DNA codes that hold the secret to human life to the genes, proteins, physiologies, and behaviors that define human life. Such work holds great promise for future medicine, and scientists have been investigating how the genes in the human genome actually contribute to the biology of health and disease.

A new discovery concerning the biology of circadian rhythms
In the last few years, a team of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) has been working toward an understanding the biology of circadian rhythms—the cyclic, clock-like expression of genes in the body.

The team, led by Steve Kay, Ph.D., and John Hogenesch, Ph.D., uses a combination of genomic, biochemical, and behavioral approaches, work that recently revealed a new genetic component of the mammalian clock—a protein known as "Rora."
This discovery may someday help people with jet lag, shift workers who feel wiped out after working a night shift, and people with more serious sleep disorders, many of which are related to circadian rhythms, say the scientists, who report their findings in the latest issue of the journal Neuron.

What is the biological clock?
Science has known for years that humans, mice, and many other plants and animals possess internal clocks that keep track of time and coordinate physiological, behavioral, and biochemical processes with the rhythm of the 24-hour cycle of day and night.

These so-called circadian rhythms offer distinct advantages to organisms that use them. Plants, for example, shut down photosynthesis at night, and they gear up their photosynthetic machinery and raise their leaves just before dawn. They use their clocks to measure day length and in that way anticipate changes in the seasons—a system that determines when they shed their leaves, produce seeds, and makes flowers or fruit.

Humans also have circadian rhythms, and we entrain our internal clocks to the 24-hour day. Under normal conditions, we time our major activities with daylight, we sleep during the nighttime, and some of our vital signs follow this pattern. Our blood pressure fluctuates daily, rising and falling at predictable times of day and night.
Scientists have provided evidence of the existence of internal clock mechanisms by placing organisms like rodents in chambers isolated from day/night cycles. In spite of this, the animals' rhythms still cycle approximately every 24 hours.
"Even if you were to put the lights out on us, we would still [time] our activity to when our body expects light," says John Hogenesch, Ph.D

One of the most intriguing aspects of this is that the mammalian clock is actually composed of many separate clocks that maintain different circadian rhythms specifically adapted to the various tissues of the body.

The liver, the heart, and the kidneys each have their own distinct clocks. The liver, for instance, expresses a number of enzymes that remove toxic substances from the bloodstream during the day, which corresponds with the prime time for food (and toxic compound) intake.

Coordinating the activities of all these different clocks is the job of the master circadian oscillator, or master clock, which in humans and other mammals is the suprachiasmatic nuclei, a small center in the brain's hypothalamus with about 10,000 neurons that sits above the optic chasm—the location where the optic nerves cross each other.

This master clock synchronizes independent clocks that reside in peripheral tissues, and every 24 hours, the master clock cycles. This cycling involves the coordinated expression of many genes involved in feedback loops, in which the expression of one gene turns on the expression of a second gene, which turns off the first gene, which turns off the second gene, which turns the first gene back on, etc., day in and day out.

The circadian rhythm in space
The circadian biological clock works outside earth the same as on earth. In the space with no gravity you can find the astronomer's body performs all functions as the clock organize waking up, sleeping, eating and all functions all the day.

Scientists say that the circadian biological clock works from the first moment of creation in the mother's womb.

The biological clock and the forelock
The scientists have found that the biological clock is a group of cells in front of the brain behind the eyes in an area called "the forelock"; this clock sends a stream of signals to the entire body to perform all tasks accurately.
Also the researchers noticed that the forelock is responsible for all mental operations, behavior and the psychological states.

One of those scientists say"Actually, brain imaging has shown that the frontal lobes may be divided into seventeen or more sub regions, each responsible for a slightly different kind of work that the human performs. So a problem anywhere in this area will impact the way a child approaches and performs any task. "

The blue spots indicate the areas operated on due to social behavior disorder, so that the forelock is the headquarter of the human.

Scientists say that the functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events. Therefore, it is involved in higher mental functions.

The frontal lobes also play an important part in retaining longer term memories which are not task-based. These are often memories associated with emotions derived from input from the brain's limbic system. The frontal lobe modifies those emotions to generally fit socially acceptable norms. Allah says: (I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature but He has the grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the truth).)(Sûrat Hûd-verse 56).

Inside each cell there is an accurate biological clock which controls all operations from the birth till death; scientists say that the clock is programmed to work for a specific period of time no more and no less. Here we remember the divine statement as Allah says: (and when their term comes, neither can they delay nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).)(Sûrat An-Nahl-verse61).

We ask atheists and disbelievers who believe that the universe and human were created by coincidence, is the blind coincidence able to create this accurate biological clock which organize the entire body in that amazing organizing?
Indeed no as the creator is Allah almighty who says about Himself: (Such is Allah, your Lord! Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship Him (Alone), and He is the Wakîl (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian) over all things.)(Sûrat Al-An’âm-verse102).

1- Keith McKeown , New "Clock Gene" Uncovered, The Scripps Research Institute, 2004.
2- Link found between body rhythms and circadian clock, light, Harvard College, 2002.
3- Bengt Jansson, Controversial Psychosurgery Resulted in a Nobel Prize,, October 29, 1998.
4- Zack Lynch, The Search for Emotional Truth,, November 10, 2006.

By: Abduldaem Al-Kaheel

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Buruan Akhir - Lailatul Qadar

Buruan Akhir - Lailatul Qadar
by radens albanjari

[..] Dari sumber yang dimaklumi kepada penulis, malam lailatul qadar tahun ini akan jatuh pada malam antara malam 27 dan 29 Ramadhan. Penemuan kiraan ini telah dilakukan oleh golongan alim yang dimaklumi akan ilmunya dan hebatnya ibadahnya kepada Allah SWT.

Namun makluman itu adalah atas kiraan manusia, tetapi menyakini bahawa malam yang hebat lagi agung itu wajar umat islam manfaatkan dengan menguat serta melipatgandakan ibadat pada malam-malam 10 yang ganjil yang kini hanya tinggal beberapa hari sahaja lagi.

Berusahalah merebutnya selagi hayat terus dikurnia oleh Allah SWT, kerna untuk memburu malam yang agung itu dimasa hadapan yakni pada Ramadhan akan datang BELUM TENTU antara kita punya rezeki dan umur. Andai hayat dan umur kita habis, alangkah rugi dan gagalnya kita untuk memanfaatkan apa yang diserukan oleh Allah SWT kepada hambanya.

Penuhilah malam-malam akhir ini dengan lebih banyak membaca al-Quran, mengerjakan solat-solat sunat tasbih, taubat, tahajjud dengan berqiamullail. Tinggalkan sementara tidur kalian untuk seluruh malam-malam akhir ini, jika mampu tinggalkan jua tiduran-tiduran nafsu bersama isteri, railah malam-malam akhir ini dimasjid-masjid (rumah Allah) dan kejutlah rakan sahabat untuk bangun bersama beribadat.

Untuk tidak lupa, pastikan jua kalian hadir memenuhi ruang solat dan lantai rumah2 Allah dengan pakaian yang hebat dan baru, pedulikan celaan rakan yang nampak pelik melihat kita berpakaian cantik dimalam hari, alangkah hebatnya jika ditakdirkan diantara malam2 itu kita dikurniakan untuk bertemu Lailatul Qadar. Wow ! Tetapkan niat bahawa kita wajar berpakaian cantik dan hebat untuk 'bertemu' dan 'bicara' dengan Allah. Pakailah wangi-wangian, serta basahkan setiap lidah kalian dengan memohon keampunan dari Allah SWT.

SATU malam yang paling ditunggu-tunggu oleh umat Islam di seluruh dunia kini, itulah malam Lailatul Qadar. Banyak ayat di dalam Al-Quran yang menceritakan tentang barakahnya malam ini. Banyak di antara orang menunggu kedatangan Lailatul Qadar dalam sepuluh hari terakhir.[.sumber - albanjari]

Sebagian orang menunggu kedatangan malam itu dengan berlama-lama di masjid sambil membaca Alquran. Ada yang menunggunya di hadapan rumah, agar dapat melihat turunnya malaikat pada malam Qadar. Tidak kurang juga yang menyambutnya dengan sinaran-sinaran lampu-lampu minyak agar kawasan mereka diterangi. Mereka begitu yakin dengan beberapa tanda-tanda yang banyak diceritakan dalam berbagai cerita sejarah.

Ada suatu hal yang masih tersimpan dalam benak hati kita semua. Sebuah pertanyaan terdalam. Pernahkah Nabi SAW melihat langsung Lailatul Qadar ? Adakah sahabat-sahabat juga pernah melihatnya? Kita pernah mendengar banyak hadis-hadis yang menceritakan tanda-tanda malam tersebut, adakah kita bisa melihatnya dengan mata kepala kita sendiri.

Cara yang paling bijak bagi kita menjawab persoalan ini marilah kita lihat tafsiran beberapa ahli tafsir termasuk melihat tanda-tanda tersembunyi yang sering diceritakan itu.

Tafsir Surat Al-Qadar

Satu surat yang begitu signifikan menceritakan mengenai peristiwa malam tersebut ialah surah Al-Qadar yang berisi 5 ayat. Surat Al-Qadar adalah surat ke 97 menurut susunannya di dalam Mushaf. Ada di antara ulama-ulama mengatakan bahwa surat Al-Qadar ini turun selepas penghijrahan Nabi SAW ke Madinah.

Di dalam membicarakan pentafsiran ayat, amatlah bijak jika kita mengambil penafsiran yang diambil dari Tafsir Jalalain:

Kesimpulannya bahwa malam Al-Qadar itu secara sejarahnya diturunkan Al-Quran dari Lauhul Mahfuz ke langit dunia. Kemuliaan malam tersebut telah dikabarkan kepada Rasulullah SAW. Bulan itu dikatakan satu bulan dengan barakah seperti 1.000 bulan. Di malam tersebut para malaikat-malaikat dan Jibril turun ke bumi dan memohon Allah mengabulkan doa-doa hamba-Nya. Kemuliaan malam tersebut berakhir dengan terbitnya fajar.

Penafsiran yang lebih terperinci, sedikit mengenai ayat pertama surah Al-Qadar ini dapat kita lihat dari Tafsir Ibnu Kathir:

Allah SWT telah mengkabarkan sesungguhnya Ia telah menurunkan Alquran pada malam Lailatul Qadar. Dimana Allah berfirman, "Sesungguhnya kami turunkannya di malam yg barakah". Inilah yang kemudian dikenal sebagai malam Al-Qadar yg berada di dalam bulan Ramadan sebagaimana firmannya, "Pada bulan Ramadan yang diturunkan di dalamnya Alquran".

Berkata Ibnu Abbas, bahwa Allah SWT telah menurunkan Alquran keseluruhannya (secara total) dari Lauhul Mahfuz ke Baitul 'Izzah dari langit dunia kemudian ia diturunkan secara berpisah dan berperingkat selama 23 tahun ke atas Nabi SAW, kemudian firman Allah beliau memuliakan Lailatul Qadar dimana Allah SWT telah mengizinkan penurunan Alquran.

Keistimewaan Lailatul Qadar

Sheikh Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi merujuk kepada surah Al-Qadar di dalam membicarakan persoalan keistimewaan Lailatul Qadar, katanya :

"Allah telah memuliakan Alquran di malam ini, dan ditambahnya dengan maqam yang mulia, yaitu kedudukan dan kemuliaannya yang sangat banyak dari kebaikan dan kelebihan dari 1.000 bulan. Apa-apa ketaatan dan ibadah di dalamnya menyerupai 1.000 bulan yang bukan Lailatul Qadar. 1.000 bulan ini menyamai 83 tahun 4 bulan. Hanya di satu malam ini lebih baik dari umur seseorang yang menghampiri 100 tahun, jika tambah berapa tahun beliau baligh dan dipertanggungjawabkan".

Dan pada malam itu turunnya malaikat-malaikat dengan rahmat Allah dengan kesejahteraan dan barakahnya. Dan kesejahteraanya melimpah sehingga ke terbit fajar. Di dalam As-sunnah, banyak hadist-hadist yang menyebutkan mengenai keutamaan Lailatul Qadar ini. Yang banyak dianjurkan untuk mencarinya pada 10 malam terakhir. Dalam Sahih Bukhari dari Hadis Abu Hurarirah,

"Barangsiapa yang berqiam di malam Al-Qadar dengan penuh keimanan dan bersungguh-sungguh maka telah diampunkannya apa yang telah lalu dari dosanya". (Riwayat Bukhari didalam Kitab Al-Saum).

Rasulullah SAW telah memberi penjelasan kepada siapa yang lalai dan tidak memperhatikan malam tersebut, yaitu sama seperti menghalang dirinya dari menerima kebaikannya dan ganjarannya. Berkata para sahabat yang telah dinaungi mereka bulan Ramadan, "Sesungguhnya bulan ini telah hadir kepada kamu di dalamnya mengandung malam yang lebih baik dari 1.000 bulan. Siapa yang memuliakannya maka beliau akan dimuliakan kebaikan semua perkara. Dan siapa yang tidak memuliakannya maka kebaikannya akan dihalang". (Riwayat Ibnu Majah dari Hadis Anas, isnad Hassan sebagaimana di dalam Sahih Jaami' Al-Saghir). (bersambung)

Sumber : Radar Sulteng